Jamaican Sorrel

The 15th Northern Winter Solstice Epistle 2012
End of the Baktun 13 / Beginning of New Era

Hibiscus sabdariffa

I'm banking that you and i will stil be around after the end of the Mayan calendar, which i interpret to be simply the end of one cycle called a baktun, and the beginning of another. It is amazing that they had the astronomical skills and prescience to be able to calculate so accurately the precession of the earth's axis, enough to startle us 5000 years later into believing they were predicting the end of time.

Some folks have taken it to heart and have made all kinds of preparations. We live in a hermeneutic universe where your interpretation determines your reality. So i choose to interpret the completion of this baktun, indeed as a fin de siècle, a critical turning point, and hopefully the start of a new age where we reverse the self-destructive downward spiral we have been on. If we do not make the turn, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as the environment becomes less supportive of life as we know it. It will not be in our lifetimes, but certainly your grandchildren will be affected.

I continue to do what i can to be a Jeremiah, a wet blanket spoiling everyone's fun. The time for fun and games is over. There are too many critical issues facing us that we can hardly ignore. Just ask the victims of Sandy, people starving because of drought or famine, the poor being further victimized as state support is reduced, contaminated and genetically modified food supplies, toxins and drugs in water supply, declining fish stocks and other wild life, increasing brutality and violence as testosterone-driven men lash out. The list is endless. It is so overwhelming it seems almost pointless to care, much less attempt do any about. There is no magic wand. However, in my assessment, i have traced almost every evil that besets us back to human greed and the desire for profit. There is no way we are going to change that as the basic competitive drive and struggle for survival is written in our genes.

I had already come to the conclusion that the monetary system which permits the exploitation, oppression and destruction that it does, has to be replaced by a rational system that manages our abundant resources more efficiently and equitably. This year, i've had several epiphanies that reinforce and support my world-view.

Long count Maya calendar
Long count Mayan calendar, not to be confused with the more commonly depicted Aztec calendar.
All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. There are no facts, only interpretations.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche ~
Baktun 13

Human beings construct meaning as spiders make webs. This is how we survive, our primary evolutionary business.
~ Catherine Bateson ~

A comment to an article in the New York Times caught my attention about the transfer of the evolutionary impulse from DNA to what the author calls a postgenetic code. Examples of postgenetic codes which have governed later human evolution would be culture, morality, religion and law. I was moved to respond to the author, Bryan Atkins and we have since established a correspondence. He recognizes the economic paradigm that i am birthing as a postgenetic code and he has written about it. His website is Postgentic.com. I am honored to have been interviewed by him, in company with luminaries such as E. O. Wilson, Robert Trivers, Michio Kaku, Frijtof Capra, Robert Kurzban, Paul Ehrlich, Ernest Callenbach, Frank Zappa, Martin Sheen, Lorne Greene, and many others. I have no business in this exalted company, a fact obviously recognized by prospective publishers who have up till now declined to publish the interview. That lack of response is par for the course in giving my economic theory some exposure. If you have no idea what i'm talking about, you can see it at PANACEA.

Panacea logo
PANACEA logo, an amalgam of the four basic mathematical symbols

A book that has left a significant impression on me is Carl Sagan's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. In it he looks at primates and other species, recognizing much behavior that we may consider decidedely human such as altruism, jealousy, deceit, homosexuality, adoption, promiscuity and infanticide. Dominance and submission behavior, ganging up on the top dog, alpha females holding court, acquiring and defending status, it's all there. The main advantage to alpha males is unlimited access to food and sex while providing some protection and leadership, and thus cohesion, to the group. Their demand for access to young fertile females immediately put me in mind of the dons in Kingston's garrisons. Sexual display and presenting the rump by either sex to an alpha male may lead to symbolic or actual copulation, all intimately tied in to status, dominance and aggression. This sheds light on the ambivalence of Jamaica's homophobes to gay men. The endocrinological role of hormones and steroids, especially testosterone, on human behavior is severely underestimated. It raises the question how far we supposedly conscious beings have free will and how much we are subject to chemical triggers.

In light of what i've learnt about postgenetic codes, which are a much later adaptation, it would appear that endocrinological responses governed by the older reptilian brain may trump the postgenetic codes selected through neocortex activity. I was reading this at the time of the Petraus scandal and it provided me another whole level of interpretation. A similar anaylsis could be applied to other well-known alpha males who have breached postgenetic codes in apparent thrall to the stirrings in their loins prompted by testosterone flows and brain stem modulated responses. Arnold Schwartzneger, Dominic Straus-Kahn and Tiger Woods, and others will come readily to mind. It also goes a way to explain many older men's pursuit of younger females, despite being long-married and settled. By the same token, females will seek out dominant males, hence their attraction to bad boys, jocks and men at the top. The genetic program to pass on those genes, contraception notwithstanding, trumps the postgenetic conventions. So much in this one book. I can hardly look at any relationship or situation again the same light.

Recent and current research is showing that hormone production and levels are affected by environmental chemicals and toxins, found in food, packaging, pesticides and industrial chemicals. One impact is increased propensity to violence and irrational behavior. It may be implicated in the Adam Lanza case.

As in most mammals, primate aggression, dominance, territoriality, and the sex drive are mediated by testosterone circulating in the blood, and generally maintained by the testicles. Almost certainly this was true of the earliest primates, and long before. The more testosterone and other androgens the developing fetal brain receives, the more of these masculine characteristics the animal will exhibit when he grows up. The lower the testosterone levels in a male, the more subdued will be these proclivities and the more likely that he will present himself for mounting by other males. But the testosterone levels also respond to the mantle of leadership. When presented with females in estrus and no high-ranking males around, the testosterone level of lower-ranking males soars. Within certain limits, primates rise to the occasion. The office makes the monkey.
- Carl Sagan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

I had read a fair amount about holographic theory before but it is only now that i am grappling with Net Planetary Value and the new economic paradigm that i am really getting the idea of reality being enfolded in an implicate order that manifests in an explicate order we call physical reality. I was able to make the connection since value is abstract, not visible or tangible, yet very real. Value remains embedded in the implicate order until it is manifested, demonstrated, made explicate in a transaction or use. That supports the theoretical base for regarding each human being as representing an intrinsic value acknowledged with a basic level of universal support for the necessities of life; it supports my view that the end consumer is as integral and necessary a part of the production process. Without consumption or use, the value of any product or service remains only a potential. I feel justified therefore in referring to NPV as a holographic system.


Those three insights have colored everything for me since, so in currently reading Ken Wilber's Boomeritis, i'm able to make connections and arrive at a level of understanding i may not have before. If you are not familiar with Wilber's work, his fictionalized treatment of his integral theory is made accessible to the lay reader. He integrates many approaches and schools of thought from the perennial philosophy and the Great Chain of Being, to esoteric studies, Spiral Dynamics and transpersonal psychology. I've incorporated many of these foundational ideas into NPV, locating it in a spiritual development and evolutionary trajectory.

AQAL value domains
NPV integrated with Wilber's integral schema
Right click on image for larger view

In his description of the beige meme, the lowest wave in Spiral Dynamics, i find his reference to people on islands embarrassingly applicable to Jamaicans, a large number of whom seem to be stuck at the beige meme, judging by their behavior. But as a planet, we are also an island adrift in the backwaters of the Milky Way; are many not equally fixated at the base? There are seven other levels divided into two tiers. The majority of mankind have not yet attained second tier conscousness. Sorry to burden you with all this cerebral stuff but most of my time is spent in my head.

Consciousness begins its spiralling evolution from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric at square 1, with certain humble but crucial instinctual drives and processes — the need for food, water, shelter, sex, and safety. A million years ago, this was the leading-edge meme for humanity, as the genus Homo began to differentiate from the great apes — and thus move from a social organization of the herd to that of the band or clan. Still close to the capacities of our animal ancestors, the beige meme is survival-wise and street-smart. It can see like a hawk, move like a lion, live off theland, take care of itself. It can be reactivated today under simlar life conditions. For example, people who are stranded on islands report that within a week or so their senses become incredibly sharpened. It is the home of our archetypal links to the other animals and life forms, and a source of much strength and vitality. Its repression by civilization almost always results in various types of neurosis.
Ken Wilber, Boomeritis: A Novel that Will Set You Free
Baktun 13
  The highlight of the year was my trip to Florida in August, courtesy of Miriama Patterson, to see family. First stop was Orlando to see sister Gwen and her husband John Chin. Her son Ric with his wife Fritzie, daughter Melanie, daughter Mary and her boyfriend George Lindner, joined us at different points. We had a great time eating, reminiscing, eating, catching up, and eating. Mira had to return to Virginia for work and i moved on to Lake Worth to spend a day with Melanie and her family, husband Glen Peffers and daughter Alexa. Orlando 0812
Melanie, me, Miriama, George, Mary, Gwen, John
Orlando, Florida, August 2012

Spent a day in Lauder Hill to meet up with niece Glenna Chang whom i had not seen in fifty years since we both left Brown's Town. She was visiting from London, where she lives, and staying at the home of another niece Gracie Chang Martin whom i was meeting for the first time. Also met sister-in-law Pearl Chang, Gracie's husband Christopher Martin, and their two kids, Kayla and Jared. Before this meeting, they were just entries in my family tree. Wonderful to meet them in person. There are still nieces and nephews, and their families, i'm yet to meet. Thanks to the internet, at least i know about them and we are in touch.

Another reason for the trip was to see my niece Gillian Chin Mooyoung who was stricken with leukemia a year ago and was due to undergo a stem cell transplant. She has since had the prodedure and so far is doing well, having to stay in a sterile apartment near the hospital under the care of her husband Bert. If she continues to improve she will be able to return home to Miami in a few months.

Back at home in DC, spent almost the entire month of September with irregular power supply which damaged my computer and electronics. Many nights spent in dark quiet but being from a developing country, quite used to it. Used the down time to clean and clear out lots of paper, apartment much lighter now. No reimbursement from power company or landlord but essential items repaired or replaced.

In November, my part-time gig producing a newsletter for ANC4C, a DC neighborhood government body, came to an end. Despite sending out many applications, have not found another job. Turned to my design skills to produce line of items to get some income, sale of my books hardly making a dent, though this December has seen a spike. The products are available through Zazzle.com.

Friend and former business partner, Gillian Royes, came out with her second novel in the Shad series, The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks. It has a gay-related plot and i was privileged to contribute to it. She graciously dedicated it to another friend and former business partner, Brian Williamson, who was killed some years back.

View more gifts at Zazzle.

Lauderhill 0812
Me, Gracie, Glenna, Jared, Pearl, Kayla
Lauder Hill, Florida, August 2012


Suzette Gardner egzinop in one of my designs

  For years now, i've been promoting the Jamaican language through a website Jumieka.com and have increased its exposure through a Facebook page Jumieka Mechiz, while developing its own branding and line of merchandise. The website continues to be the go-to place on the web for patwa search queries. Encouraged by this, i have almost completed converting the content, with additonal material, for a patwa text, Biesik Jumiekan: An Introduction to Jamaican Language, scheduled for publication in 2013. Suuhn Kom
Jamaican language text coming soon in 2013

My past is catching up with me, and being recorded. The filmography is growing to include:

  • Taboo Yardies, trailer for documentary now making the festival circuits.
  • For A Happy Asylum, short film by Mark Beckford, Gleaner journalist, as part of his Wilson Center and Washington Post Fellowship for Latin American Journalists.
  • Interview with Thomas Glave, full interview done last year while we were at Brooklyn College for the launch of the Gay Freedom Movement Archives.
  • Until We Have Faces, currently in production in Los Angeles
All well and good, and part of the ongoing struggle for human rights for LGBTs in Jamaica, where the religious right is mounting a campaign to silence sexual minorities and establish a theocracy. They are well funded by the US religous right and supported with speakers, strategy and policy. The same is happening in African countries. I am very impressed and happy to report that there is a whole new generation of Jamaican activists who are bright, educated, engaged and articulate to deal with the situation. The work i began in the 1970s is being ably continued. Thanks to Facebook for immediate communication channels where i can keep up with their achievements.

Now if only i could get someone to interview me on my ideas for the new economic model. I strongly believe this is of the utmost urgency as it affects everyone and everything on the planet. You too have a role to play.

People, look: if we are going to find solutions to global problems— from global terrorism to ecological suicide to a world that might find peace to a cure for global warming—then we need human beings who are at a global, worldcentric level of consciousness, yes? Yes, obviously—worldcentric problems demand worldcentric awareness ... only people at the worldcentric level of development can actually see the global or worldcentric problem, and therefore they are the only ones that will be moved from within to do something about it.
~ Ken Wilber, Boomeritis: A Novel that Will Set You Free

Year-end 2012

These annual epistles have been archived for ready retrieval:
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Quotations from Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing except otherwise credited.

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